Stratetic Enrollment Management Conference

Zakiya Smith

Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation

Tuesday Luncheon Plenary Presenter
Tuesday, November 12 – 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Session and presenter sponsored by Parchment

Ms. Zakiya Smith is a Strategy Director at the Lumina Foundation, where she leads the work of the foundation to develop new models of student financial support for higher education. Most recently, Smith served as a Senior Advisor for Education at the White House Domestic Policy Council, where she focused on developing the President’s higher education policy. Smith also served in the Obama administration as a senior adviser at the U. S. Department of Education where she developed programmatic, policy and budget solutions to respond to pressing challenges in college access, affordability, and completion.

Prior to her work in the Obama administration, Smith served on the staff of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, where she conducted research and authored reports on college access programs, community colleges, and on the ability of low- and moderate- income families to afford college.

Earlier in her career, Smith worked in various capacities for Teach For America, helping to train new teachers, and for the federal GEAR UP program in East Boston, Massachusetts, providing college preparation and financial aid information to high school students. She was introduced to federal policy as an intern on Capitol Hill with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, working for her former hometown Congresswoman.

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and secondary education from Vanderbilt University, and a master’s degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

New Models for Students: System Redesign

For both economic and civic reasons, we must expand access and success in education beyond high school, particularly among adults, first-generation college students, low-income students and students of color. To that end, the mission of Lumina Foundation, and many others within the higher education community, is to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent over the next two decades. Unfortunately, our nation’s student aid system — at the federal, state and institutional levels ― simply cannot properly support the successful enrollment and completion of huge numbers of today’s students, much less the new students needed to reach this ambitious goal. We believe it is time to fundamentally rethink our national approach to student financial support. Only through substantive redesign can we assure that resources are used to support the success of the much larger number of students needed to reach our nation’s civic and economic goals for higher education.